How to Shave a Dog for Surgery

15 - 30 Minutes
1 Day


Typically, when your dog has to have surgery, the vet tech is the one who is responsible for shaving the area to be operated on. The area to be shaved is based on what type of surgery your pooch is about to undergo. For example, if your pup is being spayed, her abdomen will be shaved from the sternum all the way to the groin. The area is shaved to create a sterile operating field that is free of hair and other debris. Of course, you can also take care of shaving your pup before you take him in for his surgery (though the tech will still go over the area again). 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog is probably just as happy about being shaved as he is about undergoing surgery. He probably doesn't have much of an idea what is going on. But, if it makes you feel better, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be the one to handle the preliminary shaving. 

Caution & Considerations

  • Any time you consider using a tranquilizer on your dog, be sure to talk to your vet. He will give you the right dosage along with full instructions on its use.
  • Never use a human pain pill to tranquilize your dog, it might kill her.
  • If you have never used a straight razor, this may not be the best time to learn how.
  • Be sure you remove the shaving foam or cream immediately as it might irritate your pup's skin.
  • Be sure the blade on your clippers is sharp to avoid snagging hairs and ripping them painfully out of your dog's skin.
  • Check with your vet to see if he wants you to prepare your dog or he wants to do it himself. 


Although it would be unusual for a pet owner to shave their dog prior to surgery, there may be times when it is necessary. The most important thing to remember is that you need to shave all signs of hair from the area to be operated on. Chances are good the veterinary surgeon or his assistants will still go over the area one more time before the surgery. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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